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Cool-Season Vegetables: How to Grow Salad Greens

Salad greens have been out lettuce lettuce out of the culinary spotlight for a while, finding a place not only in everyday salads but also in sandwiches and main dishes. The fantastic news is that while they might still be a little expensive in the grocery store or at the farmer’s market, they are easy to grow and long lasting in the cool-season garden.

These greens are excellent in the garden appropriate, but they also grow well in containers. Consider planting a mix, both for color and for variety. If you do develop several distinct greens in a single container, let them audience together and don’t worry about spacing.

More: The way to grow cool-season vegetables


Popular Salad Greens

Arugula(this picture),also referred to as roquette or rocket, is one of the highest greens. Its peppery flavor adds a tangy flavor to a sandwich. Due to its sharpness, it is often mixed with lettuce at a garden salad or packed with other greens as part of a mesclun mix. If left on its own to grow, it can readily reach 3 feet high, but you’re going to want to select the greens early to get the best taste. It’s generally sold only as arugula, but you could also find varieties tagged Apollo, Astro and Sylvetta.

The chicories include a large part of salad greens, but some are more popular than others with home gardeners. Leaf chicory,which includes both green and red varieties, is grown like leaf lettuce. Favorites include Sweet Trieste.

Endive is another chicory. Additionally, it is called frisée, a fitting name considering the often frilly leaves. It can be grown like lettuce. Favorites include Frizz E., Galla Frisée, Tres Fine Maraichere, Salad King and Totem. Escarole, that’s often sprinkled with endive, has wider leaves and a white center. Broadleaf Batavian, Coral and Natachaare favorites.

Radicchio is characterized by its well-formed head that generally turns a distinguishing dark, almost maroon, red. Favorites include Castelfranco, Chioggia, Giulio, Red Verona, Rossana and Treviso.

Mustard greens,as befits the title, would be the most popular of the frequent salad greens. In this broad category, you’ll find several choices; mizuna is one of the most recognizable. Mustard greens come in a range of sizes, from low growing to tall; colors, from pale green to red to purple; and foliage shapes, from small, cupped and crinkly to broad and smooth. Favorites include Florida Broadleaf, Garnet Giant, Giant Curled, Golden Frills, Golden-Streaked Mizuna, Green Wave, Osaka Purple, Purple Wave, Red Giant, Ruby Streak (a mizuna), Savanna Southern, Tatsui and Tendergreen.
When to plant: Fall to winter (in mild-winter climates); early spring everywhere. Radicchio is greatest when sown in mid to late summer, although some slow-bolt forms can be sown in spring.

Days to maturity: 25 to 40 (arugula, leaf chicory); 35 to 65 (mustard greens); 65 to 90 (endive, escarole) ; up to 90 (radicchio)

Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Water necessity: Regular


Planting and care: Sow arugula seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart or scatter them over a garden bed. Add a complete fertilizer at planting time. Once the seedlings have developed at least four leaves, thin to 6 inches apart. (You can consume the thinnings.) Keep the soil moist and free of weeds. Arugula reseeds freely and can be fairly resistant to pests.

Sow foliage chicory approximately 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart; lean to 6 to 8 inches apart. You can also scatter seeds over a garden bed. Cover with a fine layer of soil and keep moist until seedlings form. Continue to supply regular water and maintain the mattress weed free. Pests include slugs and snails, aphids, cabbage loopers, cutworms, flea beetles, leafhoppers and leaf miners; downy mildew and fusarium wilt are potential diseases.

Sow endive and escarole because you’d leaf lettuce or leaf chicory. Lean to 1/2 to 1 foot apart. They will become warm weather but might become even more bitter. Blanch them two to three weeks by linking the outer leaves around the middle. Do not let the leaves get wet during this period.

Radicchio is best began in mid or late summer. Lean from 8 inches to 1 foot apart. Heads will start to form as the plants reach adulthood; if they don’t, harvest the leaves and also see whether a head will form.

Mustard greens like fertile and well-drained soil, and do best if you don’t plant them where cabbage plants have grown. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Keep the soil, and once the plants reach between 4 and 5 inches high, thin them to 4 to 6 inches apart. (You can consume the thinnings.) Leave more space if you would like to grow plants for their mature size before harvesting. Keep the soil moist and marijuana regularly. The only pest problems could be aphids, cabbage loopers and flea beetles. Downy mildew could also be a problem.

Sow arugula, baby mustards, escarole and endive each 2 weeks to ensure a continual crop until weather induces the plant to bolt or perish.

Harvest: It’s best to harvest arugula 25 to 40 days after sowing seeds, before the leaves make too big and bitter. Remove the entire plant while the leaves are young. You can also harvest only the leaves from the middle of the plant to promote a second crop.

Pull individual chicory leaves from the exterior of the plant or pull up the entire plant. You can remove the outer leaves of endive and escarole for a continuous harvest or just harvest the entire plant.

Harvest radicchio once the heads are full. In warm-winter climates, cut 1 to 2 inches above the soil level; plants may regrow.

Harvest mustard greens by cutting the leaves off and leaving the stalks or by removing the outer leaves as soon as they reach 6 to 8 inches long. You can also pull up the entire plant.

“Cut and come again” harvest methods work well for arugula, endive, escarole and many mustard greens. Just cut the tops off of all of the leaves about an inch over the middle and wait for more leaves to grow.

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